Where did the idea for Keyboard Conversations come from?
The guiding light and the inspiration were the programs that Leonard Bernstein gave where he would talk about the music before conducting the orchestra. The listener would be on the edge of his chair.
Can you give us an example of your commentary?
Almost every piano student plays Beethoven’s “Für Elise” — there are cell phones that go off to that. What’s not generally known is that he never wanted it published at all — it was a private gift to a lady friend.
What’s the best question you’ve been asked?
A 9-year-old boy who finally got away from his mother’s grasp held up his hand and said, “Mr. Siegel, how many hours a day did Bach have to practice?”
Franz Liszt. He was probably the most extraordinary personality and lived the most extraordinary life of all the great composers. He was once asked, late in life, why he didn’t write an autobiography. And his response was, “It has been enough to live such a life.”
If you had to choose between the work of Beethoven and Mozart, which do you prefer?